European Outlook: Asian stock markets moved cautiously higher overnight and are heading for a strong week, for Hong Kong the best of the year, helped by a rally in banks and underpinned by cautious comments from Yellen, who doesn’t seem to be in a rush to tighten policy. Central banks remain the key focus and the announcement that Draghi will be speaking at Jackson Hole shortly before the September policy meeting has sparked speculation that he will use the chance to lay out the ECB’s tapering plans, coupled with remarks from BoE’s MacCafferty that the BoE should revisit the guidance on the unwinding of QE sent European yields higher yesterday afternoon, while capping gains in Eurozone equities and seeing the FTSE 100 closing in the red. Stock futures are pointing to a rebound in the FTSE 100, and Yellen’s comments may help bond yields to come off highs at the end of the week. The European calendar has Eurozone trade data as well as final Italian HICP readings.
Fed Chair Yellen: has concluded her testimony yesterday. There wasn’t an attempt to walk back from the cautiously optimistic tone from yesterday’s testimony where she hedged the softer inflation dynamics. Other than her comment that the balance sheet is unwound is likely to push up rates at the long end, there weren’t any big revelations yesterday. That indication has seen the 30-year yield jump 5 bps to 2.925%, with the 5s-30s spread has steepened to 101.6 bps from 100.9 bps yesterday. It was as narrow as 93.5 bps on July 3. She said Q2 GDP growth should be “significantly stronger” versus Q1, but reaching a 3% pace would be “quite challenging.” Yellen on the balance sheet said that their intention is to shrink the balance sheet in a “slow, gradual, and predictable way. Fed has set out a detailed plan on how it will achieve that. Once triggered, the unwind is expected to run in the background. The run off should result in some increase in long term rates compared to the front end, she acknowledged, and the FOMC will take that into account as it sets the funds rate. She expects the funds rate to remain the principal tool of monetary policy. She repeated that the balance sheet and the quantity of reserves will be reduced over the next several years, but won’t go back to the pre-crisis levels.
U.S. reports: revealed a smaller than expected PPI downdraft into mid-year despite falling oil prices, with a lift from rising food prices thanks to hot and dry weather in the upper midwest. We also saw sustained lofty initial claims levels into the holiday week of July that defied the usual auto retooling headline, likely thanks to ongoing vehicle sector weakness and some extended summer plant shutdowns. For PPI, the 0.1% June headline and core price gain beat estimates thanks to a smaller than expected 0.5% energy price drop alongside a 0.6% food price rise. For claims, a 3k downtick to a still-elevated 247k trimmed a 6k rise to 250k (was 248k) in the prior week. Claims are averaging 247k in July, following lean prior averages of 243k in June, 241k in May, and 243k in April. Next week’s BLS survey week reading should lie within the mix of 242k in June, 233k in May, and 243k in April, though the recent up-tilt may imply an overshoot.
Main Macro Events Today
- EU Trade Balance – May Trade Balance for expected to post an increase at 20.3B from 19.6 B last month.
- US Retail Sales – The June retail sales report expected to be a flat with the ex-autos figure up 0.2% This follows respective May figures of -0.3% for both the headline and ex-autos and 0.4% for both figures in April. There is possible downside risk from the recent declines in auto sales as well as declines in gasoline prices. Meanwhile. June CPI should post a flat headline as well with a 0.2% increase for the core. This compares to the May figures which had the headline down 0.1% and the core up 0.1% and April where the headline was 0.2% and the core 0.1%. An anticipated dip in gasoline prices could weigh on the release too.
- US CPI and Industrial Production – June industrial production data is out today and should post a 0.3% increase for the headline following a flat rate in May and a 1.1% bounce in April. Capacity utilization should tick up to 76.8% from 76.6% in May and 76.7% in April. Mining and factory employment both climbed in the June which could provide a tailwind to the release.
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